19 September 2017

Dulo MNL: The Start of Poblacion’s Creative Commonwealth


Art and culture were never the first things that come to mind when one thought about the gritty roads of Poblacion. What used to be a cluster of bars scattered with provocatively-dressed women along nondescript streets has started to break away from its red light district reputation. Making a name for itself, Poblacion is fast becoming more colorful than the kitschy neon signs that greet your arrival. 


One of the establishments fronting the Poblacion renaissance into a cross-cultural boiling pot of art, music, and food is Dulo. At first glance, its plain concrete façade is easy to miss, only signified by the graffiti pattern that adorns its entrance. Unlike other establishments, there are no glowing signs festooned outside to tell you this is the place, but it is exactly its curious charm and subtle eccentricity that draws people in. 


Inside is even more unexpected. There are indoor plants that look like they’ve been plucked out of a Pinterest wet dream, contrasted by a menagerie of furniture that shouldn’t mesh well together but do. The repurposed woodwork and upcycled chairs might scream urban coffee shop, but the Victorian-esque mirrors and neon lights linger between the lines of a dive bar and speakeasy. It opens its doors at 8AM, ready to serve you a cup of artisanal joe, but sometimes closes as late as 6AM, bidding you goodnight with a sake sour. Which begs the question, what exactly is Dulo? 


As a restaurant, bar, café, and events venue all in one, Dulo is a space that wears many hats. But at its core, it is a community platform that aims to provide a home for artists, creative thinkers, and anyone with the slightest sliver of appreciation for art. “It’s called Dulo because we cater to both ends of the creative spectrum – whether you’re an established, high-brow artist who’s been in the industry for a long time, or an emerging, starving artist with no experience,” shared Rae Pineda, who co-owns the newest kid on the Poblacion block with partner Alexa Arabejo. “We also call it Dulo because we want to highlight the outskirts of the city. Most people think that the heart of the city is in the central business district, but so much pockets of art surrounding that are being ignored.”


Inspired by Malate’s heyday prominence as the cultural destination for young artists, Dulo aims to provide the same recluse. “There was this bar in Malate back in the 70’s called Penguin. They became known because they were the creative space that people needed,” Pineda said. Penguin Bar & Café, a hole-in-the-wall space, which opened its doors at the height of Martial Law, was home to writers, photographers, and other artists from all walks of life. “[They] would come there, chill out, and bask in each other’s creative energy. All pretenses just fly out the window. That’s what we want to recreate while building our own community.” 


Dulo markets itself as a blank canvas that encourages people to create, whether you know how to work a paint brush or not. Its second floor, an expansive, empty space built for events, has housed a slew of different happenings – from exhibits, live shows, and stand-up comedy, to burlesque performances and workshops. Some events, such as Voodoo Child, a night dedicated to rock and roll, and the recent Tago sa Dulo, a collaboration with Tago Jazz Bar in Cubao, have garnered such positive reception that they have been added to their regular repertoire. One thing is clear: Dulo welcomes all forms of artistic expression with open arms, no matter which industry or field you’re from. “We really want to be a safe, unfiltered haven that inspires collaboration among the creative community,” Pineda asserted. The concept of a “circle” or “scene” might be mistaken for clique mentality and further reiterate the exclusivity of art, but Dulo assures everyone that they are anything but. “Our main goal is to bridge the gap between the artists and audiences, even those who know nothing about art. We don’t want to be intimidating. We hear people say things like, ‘I’m interested in art but I’m not an artist, where do I go?’ Well, we’re saying you can always visit Dulo.”


Its menu is no exception to the place’s recurring ingenuity. A mix of various Asian flavors, their selection is heavily influenced by Pineda’s taste for her former home. “I lived in Taipei before coming here, and I noticed how Taiwanese food isn’t so common in Manila so I thought of combining it with what we have here,” she noted. “We’re a creative space so we encourage our bar and kitchen to be as imaginative as they can.” The result? A playful carte du jour that includes mushroom bao – a flavorful combination of shiitake mushrooms, mayo, and fried shallots with an after-taste reminiscent of sisig, clam chowder miso soup – an inventive broth that merges two soup staples, and the well-loved pork belly bowl that is nothing short of culinary catharsis. Their drinks menu, on the other hand, is as innovative as you’d expect it to be, pleasantly surprising your palates with the likes of spiked milk tea they call the Naichatini, and their off-menu sake sour that will have you ordering another round or three. 

 

Already being flocked to by visitors from all over the metro and beyond, Dulo owes their success to their diverse team, which is composed of industry veterans and talented novices alike. Their chefs hail from the likes of Vask and Black Sheep, while their bar consultant, Kath Eckstein, is an acclaimed mixologist in the world of bartending. Still preaching its dedication to community and collaboration, the staff is also comprised of both students and professionals who all have one common denominator: their passion. Whether it’s being in a band, writing, or having an affinity for coffee beans, all Dulo employees continue to uphold the space’s communal feel. “Literally anyone can be part of the Dulo family,” Pineda beamed. 


While fairly new at only two months old, Dulo is making stark contributions to the growing progressiveness of Poblacion. “The best thing about [Poblacion] is it’s become such a community now. There didn’t used to be much places in Manila where you can just walk around, and it’s great because all the establishments have their own concepts,” she acknowledged, referencing places such as Tambai, which has become an institution on its own, and their own neighbor, Crying Tiger Street Kitchen. “Instead of competing with one another, we help each other out, even with small things. Say we’re missing a wire or cable. I could just call up the guys from Z Hostel. We also support each other’s events.” 


Similar to Penguin’s genesis during an era of turmoil when freedom of expression came at an expensive price, Dulo also aims to be vanguards of critical thinking and societal involvement through art – at a time when forces threaten to put humanity in the back burner. “Once we’re done polishing the rough edges, we want to be facilitators of discussion and be more proactive about social issues – make the most of this platform,” she affirms. “We don’t want to make art just to sell. We want it to be an avenue for people to be part of the shifting social norms. Just make sh*t happen.” 


Even their logo, which might look like a row of randomly placed lines at first, signifies so much more. “It symbolizes the spectrum – the ebb and flow of life. There are highs and lows, but you just have to go with it,” Pineda explained. “You can’t plateau on a high, but you can’t plateau on a low either. It’s balance.” And it is on this foundation of balance that Dulo finds the perfect fusion of symmetry and creative chaos, and tradition and constant reinvention.


11 September 2017

A discussion of subversive fame and sex positive space in the Philippines with Joyen Santos


The Wicked Bitch of the East, Black Unicorn, Queen of Manila Underground – Joyen Santos is Manila’s beacon of erotica. An incongruent singularity within the conservative urban sprawl of nearly 13 million, and yet a completely congruent declaration of contemporary Filipino culture. Appropriately, Joyen is full of singularities - from the rare quality of having humility of character to announcing to a room of students that she wants to make the Philippines kinky, and publicizing herself as “the first and only-practicing rope bondage dominatrix in the country”. Kink is on the rise and Joyen is its binding momentum. Ironically, though, the movement is not her’s, in fact, it's no one’s. Her alien Filipina approach to beauty, sex and art combined with a tenacious work ethic has quietly provided her with social carte blanche, while empowering the maturation of Manila’s alternative community. 

Joyen and I met up at DULO in Poblacion to chat about her role in conservative Filipino society, and the contemporary kink/sex positive spaces she provides to her rapidly growing audience; Filipino millennials. 

Interview and shoot done in DULO
4988 P. Guanzon St., Poblacion, Makati
Words by Hannah Beck & Photography by Zaldine Alvaro


How did you arrive at your current role in conservative Filipino society as the “first and only-practicing rope bondage dominatrix in the country”?

By accident. It was on my bucket list - Japanese rope bondage. I have a tendency to live under a rock. I didn’t know of the social implications of rope bondage. I didn’t know it was taboo. I didn’t know it was sexual. Because, you know… I look at it, it doesn’t seem sexual to me. Its bondage, but there's no penetration. It didn’t occur to me that there were a lot of implications. When I started doing it back then… people started gravitating towards me: “Can you exhibit your work?” I actually started as a fine art photographer, and then people were asking me to perform what I photograph. Then that was more successful than my photographs. It's really accidental. I didn’t grow up and one day decide, “I think I’ll take my clothes off for a living,” and apparently, I’m very good at it and I’m proud that I am. I never planned any of that. I never planned to be the face of the alternative scenes in Manila. It just happened. Luck. There's a lot of luck involved. There's a lot of proper timing. 

Your personality too. Talking to people; they want to be able to engage with ease with somebody like you. Especially in a conservative society – sex is scary. It's not spoken about, and then to have somebody who is very open, with a big smile and very beautiful...

Exactly. To make things accessible to conservative Filipinos, but mind you, Filipinos are some of the wildest creatures behind closed doors. It's just that nobody ever talks about it. But to me it's common sense to want to have great sex. To want to have certain kinks in my armor if you know what I mean. I just happen to be very open with it so…


It’s really dope how your interest in Japanese rope bondage ended up being so welcome; an open invitation to do things – You began by showing people your art, and then you began to have a very publicized presence. That's very interesting, especially in regard to having a sex positive role here.

Lord knows we need it. We need it.

It's funny you say that, because when I first came here to DULO to see you perform for Burlesque PH, I saw the spoken word and erotic comedy troupe, Deus Sex Machina perform a skit about a married couple afraid, or ashamed I guess, to have sex, and… well… I… I had no idea…

Welcome to Asia.

I had just met you earlier that day when I participated as your “bunny” during String Theory, your rope-bondage workshop, and then that evening I saw this skit. I thought the two were such contrasting insights into sexuality in the Philippines. So, is this common amongst married couples?

So, I have this, sort of, Facebook live talk show, an informal talk show, where people comment or send me messages asking questions about sex, relationships, love, BDSM, everything in-between. And I get questions – they’re mostly from the Filipino audience – like, “Will I get pregnant if I swallow semen?” Or, men who do not know what happens during menstruation. Or, “Does orgasming too much cause women to go crazy?” 


Oh… I see… so then, what does sex ed look like in the Philippines?

What's sex ed?!?!?! Haha! I’m not the authority when it comes to sex education – disclaimer right there. Although, I am studying to be a sex educator in the realm of the things that I do: BDSM, sex and body image positivity. We have… I guess I could explain the extremes to you — I went to an all girls catholic school — we have the powerpoint presentation featuring what happens: a photo of this STD, this STD…

Oh! To scare you!

Yes! Scare you! Don’t have sex! This will happen! But more and more there are people who advocate sex ed, but nobody really sees one solid, consistent figure who is there, accessible and reliable.

I was researching sex education in the Philippines – there is one NGO here that sets out to educate very young girls about their bodies and birth control – the woman being interviewed stated that so many young girls are having children, and that someone needs to tell them that when you start to menstruate you can have a baby. You can be 13 and have a baby, and that is very common.

Yes, again, that is very common. There are a couple of NGOs, but again they are few and far between – maybe the Red Whistle, Love Yourself. I work with… it's not an official partnership, but they have been my clinic for the longest time, and they are called the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) and they have implants in the arm that you can get for PHP 5,000 to US$100 denomination. The last time I checked, they implant it in you for free.

Yes, that was the organization. During the interview the woman was checking young girls arms.

The problem with them, and the reason I want to partner with them is because they have no social media presence. And we’re the social media capital of the world! But with any organization or individual, there is always some aspect lacking… so I thought that I could bring presence to them.


Your publicized sex-positive role seems to be something of a phenomenon. What are the broader cultural circumstances that have shaped your existence and kinky pursuits? 

The main influence in my life has to be Japanese Culture. I come from a traditional, average Filipino family, and that being said – I focused on school, I didn’t hang out with friends, and I had no boyfriend. I could only watch TV during the weekends. Asian – purely traditional, conservative Asian upbringing, as we know it. And some of the things I got to spend a lot of time with during my free time when I was younger were Japanese shows, culture, anime – which are probably the reasons why I chose to practice Japanese style rope bondage and discipline that comes with it, you know? It's a huge influence. I didn’t get to spend so much time with people when I was younger. So, I have this stubborn attitude towards things. I’m used to being on my own and making decisions on my own. I tend to be dense – not so receptive of other people’s opinions in both good and bad ways, although when they have a special place in my life, you know, that's when I start listening. But yeah, I was very sheltered, and when I finally got out into the world it seemed like I was an alien. Its weird. Because I’m stubborn, I have a shield against all of the naysayers – and there are a lot. I have the stamina to carry on despite being called a "glorified prostitute". So, there's that… it's still an Asian country after all. There's a discipline I instill in my work. At the same time there's the pursuit in looking good despite all of the hardships that has to go into studying a craft – performing a craft. I guess it's a very Japanese mindset, heavy huge influence. 

Where's the kink? Again, going back to the Japanese; they are capable of making anything kinky. It's a trait that I particularly admire. I mean who would have known that tentacles were sexual (From Japanese Hentai shows.)?! And they have a history – the wood block print of a woman getting cunnilingus from an octopus! How did you think of that?! There's so much creativity in the pent-up Japanese culture. It just comes out in so many ways, no pun intended. It's amazing. I love the rigidity. You know, they look good, nice and fixed, but on the side they’re having sex with an octopus!

Within fifteen minutes of meeting you during String Theory you said, “I want to make the Philippines kinky”. I thought it was such a huge thing to say because in a way it was so singular; just you, alone saying that. It sounded crazy, but also really rad. What does that statement mean to you?

I guess it means a lot of things. Things I already covered – showcasing and education. There's that to putting the Philippines on the map as a kink destination. All of these things combined. The Philippines is at a Renaissance. I’ve been feeling it since last year. There are so many people who are getting into all sorts of art, not just me, all sorts of shit. And, the audience is receptive to it; they’re hungry for it. I have a number of friends who keep coming into the country just for that. The scene is blooming. It comes from a lot of angles when I say, “I want to make the Philippines kinky”. It's all of that.

I watched the FHM piece “The Anatomy of a Burlesque Babe” where you state, “I think that this year, 2016, Manila has grown to be more aware and appreciative of the dark arts”. Do you think that 2017 is maintaining?

Yeah. Maintaining. Growing. Maintaining, definitely. We were able to start a lot of things, a lot of institutions last year. One of which was burlesque. We founded Manila’s first ever Kink Karnival last year, it's a convention type event with vendors who sell kinky paraphernalia and performances for one entire day. It's the first time anything like that has ever happened in Manila. And this year its happening again – October 14th. It's about maintaining. A lot of stuff happened last year during the retrograde, all the crazies went out. Now, it's just about following up with that great start and keeping it consistent.

 

And more people are coming out?

Oh yeah. And mostly kids. Like millennials. Early 20s. You went to the BDSM ball, you probably saw there were so many kids.

Yeah, there were a lot of millennials.

Yeah! That's my audience!

In Manila it’s very apparent that millennials are the ones pushing a lot of the changes. Of course, this is a global phenomenon. We are so loud. Millennials have a very particular set of standards, even for their own curiosity. And they don’t care if no one likes it.

Very stubborn. It's a good and bad thing. I can see why the older generation doesn’t like us. But we are very progressive, especially in the art scene. 

It's really rad that you are providing sex positive spaces…

That's how I like to think about it.


It sounds as though your pursuits don’t necessarily directly have to do with any sexual repression from your community and broader conservative Filipino culture… 

Well, I’m a very… if you cast all of the layers aside, all the smoke and mirrors, I’m a very simple person, and I like to do one thing. Again this is reference to the ideal Japanese craftsman, he does one thing everyday. There really isn’t any grand cause to why I do what I do. These are side effects. These are welcome side effects that through doing what I do I get to empower people to be ok to admit that they want good sex, ok with admitting that they are ok with their body. These are welcome ripples. But if you were to ask me, it's really… I was in the right place at the right time. And I am capable of doing things, I am honored to do these things. I am honored to be the face of the underground. I am honored to be a tool – a beacon. I am not really the expert when it comes to these things. What I am good at is showing how good these things could be, could look like. And things that they could stand for. I am able to empower people – that's their thing, it's their thing to have a cause, to fight for a cause. I’m happy to do that. I am able to connect people. I am able to connect the expert to the learner. Like the people who need birth control. I’m able to connect them. That's my role. I provide opportunities for people to connect. That's what I do. That's what I love to do. I introduce. I open the door.


07 September 2017

What happened in '97? Filipino Visionaries reminisce on their Creative Journey


For those of us old enough to vote, the memories of the late ‘90s are a lot like watching films through VHS, transporting us to a simpler, faraway time. But for the true ‘90s kids—those who were at the peak of their youth then—it was a time of self-discovery and creative energy, the era of Tamagotchi toys, rave parties at Consortium, and Eraserheads dominating the airwaves.


It was also the time when the Internet had just begun and wasn’t yet a norm. Most remarkably, it was the era when the transition from analog to digital commenced. This transition—the gradual entry of the Internet whilst coexisting with existing analog devices and ways of living—was a catalyst of the creative boom and energy that heavily summed up the late ‘90s.


Here, we take a closer look at the year 1997, and at five creatives who began to carve their path during this year and continued to be tastemakers in their fields up to this day—may it be in art, music, film, or fashion. They have been in their games for twenty years, and their ability to perform their craft and continue to excel for two decades truly make them visionaries.


Photos: (Above) from Featured Creatives, (Below) by Zaldine Alvaro

Mich Dulce
While her career as a designer might have started as a “funny accident” during her teenage years, her trajectory into being the renowned fashion designer that she is now is not. At a young age, Mich has always had her eyes set on big goals—to become a global brand.


This all started in the year 1997, during the golden age of Filipino rave culture when Filipinos would go to parties at Consortium, ABG’s, or Blue Café every week or close an entire street in Malate for a night of dancing and music. She was so drawn to the scene, but soon realized that there were not a lot of clothing options for her to express herself and reflect the rave parties she enjoyed attending. So she decided to make her own clothes—starting with club wear and dancewear. And the rest was history.

1997 was all about self-discovery for Mich. “It was such a creative and dynamic period, and meeting all these creative people, who are still my bestest friends until now, made me realize who I want to become. If it wasn’t for that period of discovery, I probably wouldn’t have become a designer,” she remarked, with the obvious thrill and excitement in her demeanor.


Her decades-long run in the fashion industry has seen a lot of changes in her focus areas—from making club wear to day-to-day clothes, dresses, corsets, and what she’s most known for now, hats and headpieces. She sees change as an inevitable and, in fact, vital part of her journey.

 

Her versatility and openness to change is how she’s remained relevant and able to achieve her long-term goal of becoming a global brand. “I think the beauty of being a creative is that you always want to do more. You always want to explore and get out of your comfort zone,” she said.

“When what you’re doing or where you are gets too comfortable, you need to get out of it and try new things.” With her lust for adventure, vibrant drive for life, and commitment to her creative pursuits, it’s no wonder that Mich gracefully maneuvered her fashion career from 1997 all the way until 2017.

Big Boy Cheng
Big Boy Cheng started to build his journey at a young age from his first love of collecting toys. As he grew older, the love for toys that he’s long had served as the foundation of the art and retail hub now known as the Ronac Art Center. This love also extended in different forms like his affinity with pop art and perhaps the most widely-known fact about him: his extensive sneaker collection.


Although Fresh Manila (which would later on be Secret Fresh) didn’t start until the 2000s, it was during the period around 1997 that Big Boy grew his toy and sneaker collection further. “I started working that time already so that allowed me to buy more toys and sneakers since I was really such a fan,” he remarked. “It was the peak of (Nike) Air Maxes. Those were really revolutionary then so I just had to buy them. For toys, I collected—hoarded—Tamagotchis.”


It was also during this time that he solidified his vision: to promote pop art in Manila, support local artists, and produce high-quality toys locally. All of which he was able to achieve through Secret Fresh then, and now even further with Ronac Art Center. And it will only get bigger from there as he plans to expand its scope by providing spaces for more pop-up stores by next year.


When asked what made him keep going for more than 20 years, he replied with a big smile on his face, “I just keep doing what I love and what makes me happy.” But perhaps the most important keys to his success lie in his genuineness and adaptability to people and situations that allowed him to foster meaningful relationships and lead him to where he is today—fulfilling his decades-old vision.

Diego Castillo
Band member. Businessman. Writer. Director. DJ. Radio jock. All these—and more—are what characterize Diego Castillo, another creative from the late ‘90s. But perhaps more popularly-known as the guitar player of rock band, Sandwich.

 

Diego started to learn guitar because of his deep-rooted love for music. This love for music was further nurtured when young Diego found himself surrounded by established creatives during the late ‘90s in the likes of Toti Dalmacion of Groove Nation and Lee Laureano of MTV. He worked his way in the music industry by landing jobs in MTV, BMG Records, and NU 107 throughout the late ‘90s. By 1997, he found himself exploring electronic music, which have become a big influence on his musical career—as a guitarist and a DJ—until now.

And then a year later, he formed Sandwich with Raymund Marasigan, Myrene Academia, Mike Dizon, and Marc Abaya (who left the band in 2005). The band soon found success after the release of their first album, and earned the Album of the Year, Best New Artist, and Song of the Year awards during the NU 107 Rock Awards in 1999.


With almost twenty years of experience and eight albums under Sandwich, Diego finds that the experimental approach that they adapt in their creative process is a big reason why people for the past two decades have identified with their music.

He admitted that there were times that it worked out well, yet there were also times that it didn’t. But he also underscored that at the end of the day, trying is the only way you’ll know. “To think that we are quite an old band, hearing young people say that they like our music feels really good,” he said.


When asked how he managed to keep doing his craft for almost 20 years, his answer was “I am still very much in love with music and the things I do. That never changed.” His passion and genuine enthusiasm for everything he does are evident in the success he amassed in all his creative pursuits—as a guitarist for Sandwich; one-half of the DJ duo, The Diegos; one-third of the owners of award-winning burger chain, Sweet Ecstasy and; writer for the 2011 Cinemalaya film, Rakenrol.

Kiko Escora
Ever since he was a young boy, Kiko Escora loved to play with his paintbrushes. As he was growing up, this was a constant companion throughout various stages of his life. While he didn’t straight up started painting as his career, the roads eventually led him there.

During the late ‘90s, the Philippine art industry was still dominated by more formal and serious compositions, especially in painting. However, Kiko already found himself adapting a different approach from the norm. He was using acidic colors and combinations in his earlier works. This was not intentional, however, he was just doing what he liked and exploring which techniques he preferred.

 

Kiko doesn’t confine himself and his works to the current trend. He has always been one to carve his own path and didn’t care what other people think. And this authenticity has, for the past twenty years, become his trademark as an artist.

This was also how he managed to keep doing his craft all these years. While this may sound easy, it is a lot more difficult in reality. He admitted that, for him, the longer he does something, it becomes increasingly difficult to be excited like before, but this should never be a reason to stop altogether.

 

“It’s normal to slow down, and to allow yourself to ‘simmer.’ But remember that while you’re at it, be open to new perspectives because that will be your driving force to go back and create again,” he said.

He also admitted that he slowed down for a while, but he is currently working on a new show again sometime this year or in 2018. On continuing to finding inspiration and his voice for his art pursuits: “Go for your gut feel because that’s coming from within you, not from outside or somebody else. That’s your voice and just go for it,” he thoughtfully shared. “That’s how I did it in the past, and that’s how I’ll keep doing it.”

Meryll Soriano
Meryll Soriano started acting at a young age of nine by first appearing in Rocky Plus V. While her acting career was not a conscious decision for her to pursue, given her young age, she was grateful that she enjoyed it because since then, acting became a means for her to express herself creatively.

She continued to appear in several films and shows. Until finally, in 1997, she received her big break—starring as lead actress in Computer Kombat alongside Aiza Suegerra. Since then, she has played numerous roles both on TV and films that displayed her acting prowess. Not only that, she has garnered numerous awards and significant recognition for her work.

 

Twenty years from her big break, Meryll shared that she is grateful that she is calmer now in a sense that there was less pressure in proving herself. She also shared that love for her work and the rewarding feeling that comes with it are what made her keep acting after all these years.

“I’ll always love making films and telling stories. It heals me as much as I hope to take part in healing the audience as well. With acting, I have a voice. That alone is a manifestation of having a sense of purpose,” she fondly spoke of her craft,


Acting for more than twenty years might make it seem like you’ve exhausted all roles that you can, but not for her. “I think every role I get, every story is a fresh start. I think that is really my process — to always have a fresh start and perspective.”

And in this process, she is sure to continue to thrive.

– – –

As reflected by the stories of these five ‘90s creatives, the year 1997 has become, in one way or another, a pivotal point in the course of their creative careers and of the Philippine creative industry as a whole. These people have made a mark on their respective fields and continue to do so until now—aptly making them visionaries.

Much like Mich, Diego, Kiko, Big Boy, and Meryll, the Nike Air Max 97 is a visionary in itself. Its incredible design is rooted in deep meaningful thought and foresight, taking inspiration from Japan’s bullet trains. This is reflected on their initial release’s silver colorway that mimics the appearance of metal.

The iconic wave pattern and reflectorized sole perfectly reflects the era when it was made­ while at the same hinging on futurism and modernism, and not retro. And this is where its universal appeal lies—the Nike Air Max 97 hits the sweet spot of people’s fond ‘90s memories while at the same time looking sleek and modern for the much-younger sneaker audience.

The thoughtful design principle behind it altogether makes the Nike Air Max 97 a classic that will cut across people of different ages across different periods of time.


27 August 2017

Spill The Beans: A Dialogue about Retail


From strip malls to online shops, retail is evolving fast. One minute your business is on top, the next it’s gone. Trends have sparked changes in Filipino shopping; enterprises are now forced to adjust to the rapidly shifting markets and discover fresh hacks in order to thrive. 

Luckily for the 40+ people who gathered for the 2nd Spill the Beans last July 22 at Dulo, the state, impact, and how-tos of retail were revealed in a two-hour dialogue over free-flowing coffee. Spill the Beans is a quarterly get-together where ideas are shared, exchanged, and challenged. It is an initiative of PURVEYR and Yardstick that seeks to combine lecture, panel interview, and open forum to provide a maximum learning experience. 

But enough of the teasing. For those who missed it, Spill The Beans set things straight—the overall retail continues to grow, and despite the challenges, there still exists individuals who do a good job in the industry. Here are four faces of Philippine retail and their respective businesses that are continuously upping the retail game.


Edie Lim & Kevin Yapjoco
Co-owner and Manager, Signet

Signet is a specialty store that offers a range of menswear clothing—from handmade shoes, tailored suits, jackets, trousers, to shirts. Edie and Kevin disclosed that Signet ultimately serves a small number of gentlemen. This goes without saying that they do not target one-time purchases; they aim for long-term support. Loyalty is what they want to breed and what keeps their company intact to date. 


Mikko Barranda 
Associate Director, Leechiu Property Consultants

Leechiu Property Consultants is a local company that strives to redefine real estate services through promoting mutually beneficial bonds with its clients. To ace the game, Mikko and his team invest in predicting business trends and technological advances that in turn help them help their clients in finding real estate solutions, first and fast. This is one of the friendly tips he extended to the audience: If anything, timing and adaptability to new technology can go a long way.


Leon Foo
Founder & Owner, Papa Palheta

Papa Palheta is an independent coffee boutique that takes pride in producing specialty coffee through meticulous brewing and roasting techniques. Interacting face-to-face with his customers on a daily basis, Leon values the experience that his company offers to its market. It is part of their vision to begin with, to sell not only what you create, but also how you create.

– – –

As these experts shared their stories and pieces of advice, one thing was proven clear: Just when everyone thinks that the retail world is threatened, it only becomes more dynamic than ever, having so much more in store beyond its face value.

Check out more photos from the second Spill the Beans below, and catch the third installment of Spill the Beans soon. You could stay updated through the Spill the Beans Instagram. Plus, you could also watch the quick talks about "Handmade" by our panels in the first Spill the Beans on Youtube









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